Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Good The Bad and The Ugly and The Choice

I'm struggling with a title for this post.

Maybe because it's been 15 days since I've written anything here.

Ok, wait now I've got it:

Let's mix it up a little and start with


As always, the Wilkinson house is in a state of crazy.
(But really, I wouldn't trade for anything else. I love my people and this life the Lord has blessed me with-although a week on the beach wouldn't be minded either)

In the middle of preparing for what is typically the biggest Women's Ministry event of the year for me to lead, I found my self needing a biopsy, and then that biopsy not going well and landing me in the hospital. Things went downhill from there. I'll spare you the details but it was scary (ok not really for me, but for The Hubs and my Dear Friend who watched it all happen)

I am home now and although still struggling a bit with  pain,  but on the road to recovery.
Thankfully, it all happened during Spring Break so we didn't have to deal with homework, packing lunches and all that.
We spent a lot of time snuggling and watching movies and was even able to get some much needed friend time in at the end of the week.


While flat on your back and in distress isn't exactly where most  sane people would like to be, I'll tell that I was so privileged and humbled to receive the absolute best from the Body of Christ.

From sweet notes and Facebook posts, calls to check in and precious texts, flower deliveries and even a yummy edible bouquet, friends who sat by my bedside long into the middle of night and during the day when I couldn't really even speak. A Diet Coke smuggled in when I was feeling a bit better and laughing with friends in an overcrowded hospital room. Meals from friends-including one of the best desserts I think I've ever eaten.
The Hubs caring for me and feeling the love from him, that admittedly after 22 years I sometimes take for granted.
My Kiddos stepping up and taking care of Mama and not complaining one bit that Spring Break took a mighty big turn from what we'd originally had planned.

The internets was a beautiful thing that week, as people prayed over me and sent sweet messages.


But, when ever you are on a 'high', there is nothing Satan likes to do then bring you down.
Especially, when you're already dealing with health scares.
Twice this past week, I felt hurt by things done and said to me on social media.
Things done and said by Christians.
Hateful and Hurtful.
That part of social media that makes you want to become a hermit and never stick your head back out.
The two things that were done were not be people I don't know in real life either.
There were done by people I'm in community with. . .and if I'm honest, really hurt my feelings.
And if my halo can slip for a minute and I can be completely honest, made me want to lash right back out. My first response -at least in my heart- was not one of gentleness or kindness.


But, here's where the it all gets real.
Do I let two people, rob me of the joy I saw and felt and that was evidenced in the middle of chaos of illness  and pain?
Do I let TWO people take my focus on the grace that has been evidenced every step of the way?

Everyday we have a choice.
Who are we going to be?

Grace givers and receivers or thieves that swoop in to create conflict and stir up strife.

We are all created uniquely and been given different gifts. And with the advent of social media we all have a platform.
We certainly don't all have to agree. In fact I have learned from many who I don't agree with on lots of things.
And of course, that will sometimes bring controversy.
But, in that controversy I have a choice to make.

We have a choice to make.
"Do I use my gifts and my platform to be negative and nasty or do I use it to be a grace giver."

Are the things I'm passionate about and willing to 'fight' for really important in the light of eternity.

And I promise you, music style, hem lengths, vaccinations and favorite teams aren't worthy of the fight.

We were created to be better than this.

I've seen it all the past two weeks. And more than likely  you have too.
Now the other choice we have to make -which do we focus on?

The negative or the joy.

The nasty or the grace.

I'm choosing joy.
I'm choosing grace.

That's all I can do, I've been blessed to many times to let others and Satan steal them from me.

Blessings My Friends, may we all make this world a better place, that when someone thinks of us, the first the think of is not if we lived a 'clean lifestyle' or our favorite mascot or even where we  went to church, but "WOW she loved Jesus and it showed!". . .

Grace and Peace in the journey,

Monday, March 10, 2014

A Different Kind of Lent

My church tradition does not celebrate Lent.
In fact, I'm not sure growing up it was even acknowledged, if it was I certainly missed it.

The first time I'd really heard of Ash Wednesday and Lent was when I worked at a Catholic preschool/after school care program and when the students came over after school, I asked what had happened to their foreheads.
(I wish I was kidding, but I'm not)
That was when Lent was explained to me.


And who can blame them really, seriously I asked "do  you know you have a little something on  your forehead". . .I was young-I'm blaming my ignorance on that.

There still isn't a huge Baptist contingency when it comes to observing Lent, but over the last few years my church has really begun exploring this idea.
And with that, we have as a family as well.

Trying to explain Lent to my very Baptist children the other night. . .well, let's just say I knew how those kiddos felt who'd try to enlighten me all those years ago (grin).

During a traditional Lenten session a person would 'give something up'.

Chocolate, soda/sugar, facebook/social media, shopping and don't forget meat on Friday-fish fry anyone?!.

And when the desire for those things comes to you, you then  use that time for prayer and reflection on Christ and His sacrifice for you.

It's actually quite lovely and worthy.

Like with most things those, our flesh can creep in as soon as we let our guard down, and it becomes about us and our pride about what  'we are giving up'.
Then the discouragement that comes when we fail.
Then the bitterness and 'why even try at all'.

And I could see that a bit in my kids, or the possibility of it for sure.

So, we have chosen as a family to approach Lent from perhaps a different way-maybe  you'd like to join us.

We've chosen to cling to the promise of abundance in Jesus brings.

John 10:10b

    I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. 
Instead of 'giving up' something, we are choosing to give abundantly, just like Jesus did for us!

Sometimes the giving looks like the giving of kindness when perhaps it's not deserved.
Gentle responses, when a harsh one would feel so so much better.
And, then monetarily as well. Who can we give ABUNDANTLY too?

We've picked our project-some sweet little children in Ghana Africa, who we want to know that Jesus loves them so much, but not only does He love them, he wants them to have enough food to eat and to be able to go to school for the whole year.

Now, I don't tell you that for anything more than so you can know what I'm talking about.

Here's the real kicker-oh how I love irony.

In giving abundantly -whether it's in emotions or generosity-we do have to deny ourselves.

Just like Jesus denied himself the comfort of Heaven to sacrifice himself for us, so we could live abundantly.

Oh the Sweet Sweet Love of Jesus.

No matter what you chose to call what you're doing for Lent, or whether it's in your church tradition or not, I hope you'll take some much needed time over the next 30+ days between now and Easter to reflect on the sacrifice and gift of the cross that Jesus gave us.

It's a difficult thing to look at in my minds eye, but OH! Such a beautiful thing as well.

And when I see it there, and all that was done for me on the that old rugged cross, how -HOW- could I do anything else than give abundantly too?


Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Grace, grace, God's grace

Grace that can pardon and cleanse within. . .

Words from an old hymn we sang growing up, and one of my favorites.


Such a beautiful word.

Without out there would be no hope for eternity with Jesus.
There would be no hope for internal peace here on Earth.

As Christians we shout grace from the rooftops-or at least we should be.

But, then we have to put grace into practice.

Oh, that can be so hard to do.

We preach grace the addicted and the broken the lost and lonely, and are thankful when they accept Jesus for who He is, but when they don't live like we do we shake our heads and declare with our actions, that perhaps grace isn't enough.

We preach grace, then give a list of rules and guidelines to be followed for it to 'work'.

We sing Amazing Grace,  all the while checking off our list of does and don'ts.

We substitute preference and performance for the quiet stillness of grace.

Maybe that's why it's so hard for the more sturdy Christian to just let others live in Grace.
God does all the work, and there in nothing, not one thing, we can do to add more to his grace.

I'm quick to condemn those I see as Pharisees, then I look in the mirror and see one looking back at me.

I'm finding the preaching of grace to be the easy part, the living out of grace to be the more difficult part.

Quick to snatch it away from those I'm sure 'know better'.
Quick to shake my head and declare "I'm glad I'm not like them".
Quick to want others to "shape up and live right".

Then another look back into the mirror of my soul and I see how much I need grace to cover me.

Love these lines from Phil Wickham's This Is Amazing Grace
This is amazing grace
This is unfailing love
That  you would take my place
That you would bear my cross
You would lay down Your life
That I would be set free
Jesus, I sing for
All that you've done for me

Thank you, Jesus that you gave all for me. That you  poured out your amazing grace on this silly girl, who had nothing of value to offer you.  Help to remember there is no checklist to follow, no
rulebook to handout that will ever add to your grace that set me free.
In the freedom of Grace, help me to always follow you.

Monday, March 3, 2014


Here in the Midwest (and from what my Facebook and Twitter feed are telling me, the rest of the country) we are waiting to unthaw and for Spring to make it's appearance.

And on frozen snowy days like today, the waiting seems almost impossible and if somehow Elsa is as real as my seven year old would like her to be, and winter really will last forever.

And yes, the cold really does bother me anyway. (Scoring points with kiddos for TWO Frozen references!)

But, at our house, and I bet yours too, we aren't just waiting for winter to be a distant memory, we are waiting for other things as well.

To many, and some to painful to list.
But, we're waiting.

And while what I'm waiting for and what you're waiting for may look very different, it doesn't change the fact that waiting is hard.

Many times in my life when I've been waiting for something, I have this nasty tendency to take matters into my own hands and start trying to 'fix' whatever situation I may find myself waiting in.

And can I tell you, the results more often than not, have been disastrous.

One of the longest periods of waiting came in the early years of our marriage.

We struggled with infertility for six years before being blessed with our first son.

There were times in the middle of that waiting that were so dark and painful, but when I look back now, I see how God was there every step of the way-Oh I may not have always believed that or acknowledged it, but it didn't change the fact that He was there, working things in His will and in His way.

I may not have always understood, and I may not always understand now but I have come to the place of the belief. ..

“I don’t think the way you think.
    The way you work isn’t the way I work.”
        God’s Decree.
“For as the sky soars high above earth,
    so the way I work surpasses the way you work,
    and the way I think is beyond the way you think. Isaiah 55:8-9 (The Message)

And really, do I want a God I can always understand? No, I want to serve the One True God, who's ways are higher than mine not equal with mine.

But, in the waiting and the quiet that the waiting can bring, sometimes I lose sight of this and want to try and start fixing.

I'm waiting on several things right now. A couple of them, there's nothing in my humanity that would allow me to 'fix' them, so then I begin obsessing about the one I can.

 (I'm letting my crazy just hang all out there-surely I'm not the only one that thinks they can 'fix' things??)

And then I am reminded of this promise:

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14 (NIV)

Waiting AND being still.  

Oh, I am not good at these two things. Perhaps that is why I get so many opportunities to try?

What are you waiting for today-

Kids to return to Jesus? Husbands to lead? Financial obligations to be met? Test results to come in?

An Apology that most likely will never come?  Forgiveness?

I've spent my fair share of time in hospital/doctors waiting rooms, and if I've learned nothing else, it's that it's easier to wait with company.

So, let's you and I sit today quietly, trusting that the battle is being fought for us and our job is to sit and wait.

Be blessed in the waiting,

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Songs in the Night

I like to call our little one, "Baby", but the fact of the matter is she's a big girl.

When the kids were little we'd read stories and then I would sing to them and we'd pray and often I'd sit by their beds until they drifted off.

Knowing Little Miss was our last baby, I even rocked her to sleep much longer than I did the boys, because now it was all to real that when people said, "they grow up so fast", they were not exaggerating.

Now that she's in first grade, Daddy usually reads and prayer with her, then I come kiss her goodnight.

Let's face it between, homework, ballet, piano, we're doing good to stay in that routine.

Wednesday night, at the end of another long, exhausting day, I found myself flopping in the chair beside her bed, and I don't know why or what came over me but I pulled that sweet thing up into my lap and rocked her and sang to her.

Oh such a precious time as I wondered if this would be the last time in my little girls life that this would happened. And even if it isn't, those sweet times are few and far between and winding down.

So, I savored the moment and she got to bed about 10 minutes (and the world didn't stop turning).

The next morning, as I had my quiet time, I read one of my favorite verses.

The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)

The God of the universe, creator and sustainer of the world, sings a song over me.

He doesn't just tolerate me, he doesn't just save me, he doesn't even just love me.

He delights in me.

And if you will, pulls me into His holy lap and sings songs over me.

Not just me, but you too.

Oh what great comfort and peace comes in knowing this amazing truth.

Now, is the hard part-living like we know this.

What in my life and yours would change if we lived liked we believed?

The God of Heaven is fighting for us, and signing songs over us.

Now, to pick our heads up and live like we believe Him when He tells us this.

Sometimes the circumstances in life can be so overwhelming that it certainly doesn't feel in our humanity that we are being delighted in or even begin fought for.

But, if we make the conscience choice to chose to believe God at His word. To live like we believe Him when he says, he's fighting for us, and He delights in us-OH the great peace that can overflow.

I know this to be true. I've had it play out in my life time and time again and I've watched him rescue me an pour out his love.

Perhaps He's singing right now, because there is a peace that is raging in the middle of our storms.

You can have it too.
Trust Him. Believe Him.